The prospect of being off work for a little while is exciting and something everyone would look forward to. It's a time that can be taken to relax and do the things that we've always wanted to do, start projects or even finish the ones we started a while ago but never got around to accomplish.
We arrived in Copenhagen over 5 weeks ago already! Time is flying... and so are the autumn leaves!! But is there such a thing as having too much time in our hands? Well... a few weeks on and I feel like I haven't achieved the things I said I would do. But why? I have quite a few hours to fill everyday. Why am I not able to achieve all those marvellous projects I had in mind before we moved to Copenhagen?
Yesterday it was time for me to reflect! I called on a meeting with me, myself and I and took us all to the local lake (for those reading this in England change the word 'lake' with 'pub'). Gentofte lake is a great place to cycle, walk... and think. There is a nice path all around it, some wooded parts and swamps. I saw swans, herons, ducks and coots. As I'm cycling frantically, my mind is racing with unanswered questions and flashbacks of words that friends, colleagues and acquaintances had said to me over the last few weeks, when I was still in Brighton and also since I've been in Copenhagen. But one thing is stuck in my mind: what role am I playing in Copenhagen? what's my purpose?
Change is not easy. We spend our lives trying to get things (job, children, partner, sport, hobbies, etc...) and as soon as we get them we hang on to them with everything we have. It's human to try our best to BELONG. We need to belong to groups, belong to someone a family, friends, and share similarities with others. It is what Maslow had established 70 years ago in his Hierarchy of Needs.
All those things that are important to us are on-going projects. They keep us busy, alive and they give us a purpose. So they cannot be one-off projects; they need to be long term achievements.
When I moved to Copenhagen, I broke my long term engagements. I broke my circles. The ones I had worked on for years; the groups I belonged to exist only virtually. And today I need to start again. All over again. I need to re-build my circles and create new on-going projects and groups I can belong to, and finally have a purpose to my life here in Copenhagen. And THIS will be the answer to what role I am playing.
This is not the first time I've done this. I left France 15 years ago to take on a new challenge and moved to England. But although I did it before, it was very different. I was 21 years old, young, driven and with little attachments. 15 years ago I was finding a way to build new circles and groups; I was building my life. I was searching for my purpose like we all did at that age. Now in my mid-thirties it is a whole different concept.
I am really happy and excited to have taken on this new challenge to move to Copenhagen for a few years. I do not regret it. But although the move was relatively swift I didn't take the time to really think about it all. But then maybe this is not something that could have been done before. Maybe this is a natural process and it should follow its course. At least that's what I think. There is so much you can do BEFORE starting a new project. You can't think about everything. You have to take it as it comes and deal with it at that time.
So last week I felt a bit lost. The first three weeks were fun discovering the city, getting used to our new house and spending time making it our home. We still bump into walls and open the wrong drawers occasionally but we are getting used to the layout and space -).
Phase 1 is over. Phase 1 was like being on holiday. Phase 2 is starting. This is the time when we realise that we live here, that this is not a holiday, that we can actually settle and make ourselves comfortable. This is when we are slowly going to grow our roots to stand strong and finally belong to this place.
My time around the lake was very beneficial. It helped me take a step back and realise how lucky we are to be here and that we have to embrace this opportunity. This is a new beginning. I now know that I can take the time to build new things. I now understand that there was a break up somewhere in my social world but that this is a natural process.
I don't want my life to be a long and quiet river. I want it to have bumps and scratches, memories to reflect on and stories to tell. This reminds me of a few wise words:
"Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way"
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It's the journey that counts, not the destination!